I have defined some of the words (underlined) in the blog post, which you can add to your Personal Dictionary. Click on the Excel icon to download the word list to your PC or mobile device, which you can thereafter import into your Personal Dictionary. They are also listed below.
Scroll down to the bottom for links to a crossword and word search using words from this post.

Perils: Risks that threaten harm or damage

Counteract: neutralise or counterbalance the effects of something

Charm: Refers to a quality that attracts or pleases others, or to a small object worn as a talisman to ward off evil or bring good luck

Exaggeration: Representing something as greater or more intense than it actually is

Clover: A plant with three-lobed leaves, often considered a symbol of good luck

Vicinity: The area or region near or around a particular place

Superstitious: Have beliefs or fears that are not based on reason or scientific knowledge.

Wishbone: The forked bone from the breast of a bird, traditionally used in a game to make a wish

Presumably: Something that is likely or supposed to be true, but not yet proven or confirmed

Recipient: Refers to the person or entity that receives something, such as a gift or award

Reacquaint: Become familiar with someone or something again, after a period of separation or absence

Extract: Remove or obtain something by pulling or cutting it out of something else

Hurl: Throw or toss something with force or violence

Cynical: Have a distrustful or contemptuous attitude towards human nature or motives

In last week’s post, I wrote about the perils of the supernatural, and superstitions that brought bad luck. So in this post I’d like to turn the attention to how we can counteract misfortune and potentially have good luck instead. I appreciate there are probably thousands of things that bring good fortune, but the ones I’ve chosen are good-luck charms that are known to me, from experiences I’ve had in my life.

Find a penny, pick it up, all day long you’ll have good luck.

After my mother, grandmother, possibly both, had told me that finding a penny was lucky, I spent the majority of my childhood looking on the ground. Okay, that’s an exaggeration, but I did find a lot of pennies, especially near telephone boxes. I don’t think I really believed in the fortune side of things, but I’m old enough to know that a penny could still get me four sweets from the local shop. I don’t know whether I had a day’s good luck, but I certainly ate a lot of penny chews.

Four-Leaf Clover 

The clover is known as the shamrock in Ireland, and you’ll often  find a foam one on your pint of Guinness, particularly on St. Patrick’s day. I remember my sister, when she was around 7 or 8 years old, sitting in the garden looking for four-leaf clovers. I’m not even sure what you’re supposed to do with one, if you find one, but I guess it’s a relaxing way to spend an hour or so.

Knock on wood – touch wood

A lot of my German students use the expression ‘knock on wood’, so it’s clearly the same idiom in their language, but personally I was brought up to say ‘touch wood’, in order to prevent any bad luck coming my way. Comically, if no wooden object  is in our vicinity, we tap our heads instead. Although I’m not superstitious, I do this every time I feel I need it, probably on a weekly basis.

Make a wish on a wishbone

It’s been a long time since I was a boy, but I can vividly remember my sister and I having a finger battle with a wishbone, which my mother took out of a roasted chicken. We would hook our little fingers around the bone, which is made of 2 parts, and is ‘V-shaped’, and pull. The winner, and presumably the recipient of good luck, was the person with the largest part in his or her hand at the end. I kept my winning bones in a small box, and many years later, I made a gruesome discovery, when I was reacquainted with my ‘trophies’.

A rabbit’s foot will bring you luck

That may be, but I can imagine that the rabbit wasn’t so happy about losing a foot. Okay, I know that the poor little bunny had probably met his maker by the time the foot had been extracted, to become someone’s lucky charm, but why anyone would think this is a good thing to carry around with them, I’ll never know.

Lucky horseshoes

I can remember as a young boy, wondering why you’d see one a horseshoe above doorways. I should’ve known it would be a lucky charm for someone. I wonder how many horseshoes fell on people’s heads when they opened a door? I think hurling the shoes at a stake, like the Canadians do, is a much better use for them.

I think you’ll have recognised from my cynical tone that I’m not convinced by lucky charms, whether they be a rabbit’s foot or a horse’s shoe, so that’s why I didn’t go to the lengths to do some homework on the reasons why. That’ll have to wait for another day, because I’m going into the garden now to inspect my grass 😉


To test your knowledge, why not do a crossword puzzle, using words from this text?

Click here for instructions on how to play.

To test your knowledge, why not do a word search puzzle, using words from this text?

Click here for instructions on how to play.

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